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  1. Trump’s White House reportedly feeds lies to the press for fun: “It’s a game to them

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    Trump’s White House reportedly feeds lies to the press for fun: “It’s a game to them”

     

    Sources tell Politico Magazine that Trump staffers lie for “sport” and cannot be trusted

     

    When it comes to the truth, White House staffers rarely want anything to do with it. According to a new story published by Politico Magazine, the Trump administration really loves to lie.

     

     

    Politico’s story extensively detailed President Donald Trump’s “fake war on fake news.” Beyond the manufactured hostility directed at the media, the communications team at the White House intentionally lies to reporters, sources told Politico.

    One White House correspondent told the magazine that a Trump transition team official warned him to be wary of White House aides speaking on background.

    “They will screw with you,” the correspondent was reportedly told. “They will feed you things that are not true.”

    Two people close to the administration also told Politico that White House staffers do much of their lying for sport, as opposed to fulfilling some grander political mission.

     

    “They all lie,” a conservative journalist close to the White House told Politico. “It’s a game to them.” The journalist suggested that West Wing staffers compete to see who can spread an untruth the farthest and loudest.

    Another conservative activist familiar with White House personnel corroborated the claims, telling Politico that Trump aides are firm in their cynicism about the press and the concept of facts. The activist said that staffers view the media as a corrupt institution that is gunning not only for their jobs but also for their reputations.

    “They’ll print what they want anyways, so we may as well have fun,” a White House employee reportedly told the conservative activist in Ben Schreckinger and Hadas Gold’s account of the administration’s misinformation games.

     

    http://www.salon.com/2017/04/25/trumps-white-house-reportedly-feeds-lies-to-the-press-for-fun-its-a-game-to-them/

     

    Tom Kociemba


  2. Workers strike for a $15 wage, and this time with the support of the entire Democratic Party

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    Workers strike for a $15 wage, and this time with the support of the entire Democratic Party

     

    Democrats unified Wednesday behind the higher wage.

     

    Daquan Jackson was supposed to be at work at 7 a.m. on Wednesday. By late morning, he should have been grilling the large amounts of chicken and steak required to feed customers during the lunchtime rush at the Qdoba Mexican restaurant in the Pentagon.

    Instead, Jackson joined roughly 400 other federal contract workers and low-wage employees with Good Jobs Nation striking outside the U.S. Capitol in support of new legislation that would raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour over the course of the next seven years.

    “It feels good,” said Jackson, a 22-year-old father of a three week old baby, to ThinkProgress about being on the lawn outside the Capitol instead of behind the grill. “I ain’t got to bust nothing or work too hard today, sweat today.”

    Jackson said he makes just $10 an hour. Though he has been able to squeeze by on that wage, he said he worries that the recent birth of his baby will make it harder to stretch his paycheck.

    “I want more. I want $14 or $15 an hour,” he said. “That would change my life a lot. I could feed my family… Milk ain’t cheap.”

    On Wednesday morning, Democratic lawmakers in both the House and Senate came together to introduce a bill that would raise the minimum wage across the entire country to $15 an hour. Until recently, the party was splintered over what wage to support, with many including Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA) holding out at just $12 an hour.

     

     

    Over the last few years, the Fight for 15 movement has fought to increase awareness about the need for $15 an hour. The group has staged a series of increasingly larger strikes and has pressured lawmakers to advocate $15 an hour at the state and federal levels.

    The Raise the Wage Act unveiled Wednesday — as Republicans in Congress prepare to lower taxes on the wealthy and potentially shut down the government over the budget — shows that Democrats are now united under the same goal.

    Murray, who two years ago was pushing for $12 an hour, spoke publicly in favor of $15 on Wednesday.

    “As hard as President Trump tries to stack the deck against our workers, we need to keep fighting back, we need to keep pushing forward, and reaching even further to support our working families across the country,” she said to the crowds of workers wearing blue Good Jobs Nation shirts and holding cardboard signs. “I believe we need a $15 federal minimum wage.”

     

     

     

    https://thinkprogress.org/15-minimum-wage-strike-d015830c766

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  3. Trumpcare is so awful that House Republicans are building an escape hatch for themselves

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    Trumpcare is so awful that House Republicans are building an escape hatch for themselves

     

    GOP lawmakers, staff quietly exempt themselves from Trumpcare hardships

     

    Leading Republicans have insisted their efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with legislation predicted to knock tens of millions of Americans off of their insurance are based in sincere policy principles, not politics.

    That claim died Tuesday night, when House Republicans introduced an amendment ensuring that members of Congress and their staff would be exempt from the consequences of any health insurance law the party manages to pass.

    Under the House amendment, first reported by Vox, lawmakers and their staff members would still be protected by Obamacare’s pro-consumer rules that get wiped out for millions of other Americans under the Republican repeal package.

    The broader repeal bill encourages states to abandon Obamacare rules that bar insurers from refusing people with pre-existing conditions and establish a minimum amount of coverage that all health insurance plans must offer. These consumer protections become optional under the deal — exposing House and Senate members and staff to the whims of their home-state governments.

    “Republican legislators liked this policy well enough to offer it in a new amendment. They do not, however, seem to like it enough to have it apply to themselves and their staff,” Vox’s Sarah Kliff reports.

     

    The man behind the amendment, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), confirmed the scheme to Kliff.

    Freedom Caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) has denied that the deal MacArthur brokered includes a carve-out for Congress. But his reported reasoning, based on Washington, D.C.’s non-state status, is incorrect.

    After their repeal efforts faltered earlier this spring, Republicans and the White House have consistently chosen to make their proposed health care plan crueler to the sick, poor, and working-class in hopes of winning more support from the Freedom Caucus. That tendency — chasing hard-right votes while trying to convince moderates not to bolt — makes the special congressional exemption from Trumpcare an especially insidious. Influential Republicans are sweetening the deal for moderates by offering them a personal escape hatch from the hard-hearted legislation.

    MacArthur’s self-serving maneuver is obviously hypocritical in the immediate sense. If a lawmaker thinks it would be good for Americans to lose insurance protections at their governor’s whim, she shouldn’t have any trouble facing that same music herself.

    But there’s another level of hypocrisy at play here, at least for the Republican lawmakers who have been around since the original Obamacare fight in 2009 and 2010. Back then, during the debate over the passage of the Affordable Care Act, GOP leaders argued it’s only fair to require Congress to participate in any health insurance overhaul it imposes on the country.

     

     

     

    https://thinkprogress.org/gop-lawmakers-exempt-trumpcare-hardships-8f7f8941f9c4

     

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  4. Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) Wants to Gut the ACA but is ducking the Responsibilty for His Actions

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    Rep. Mark Meadows (NC) Wants to Gut the ACA but is ducking the Responsibility for His Actions: New Version Of Obamacare Repeal Would Gut Pre-Existing Condition Guarantee

     

    Apparently yanking away the funds that allow millions of people to get health insurance isn’t enough for some House Republicans.

    Now they also want to gut the Affordable Care Act’s protection for people with pre-existing conditions.

    Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) on Tuesday formally unveiled an amendment to the American Health Care Act, the bill to repeal Obamacare that Republicans tried to get through the House last month. The amendment, which HuffPost’s Matt Fuller first reported last week, is the product of negotiations among key Republicans, including Vice President Mike Pence.

    A main goal of the proposal is to win over conservative House members who last month opposed the GOP repeal bill because, in their view, it still left too much of the 2010 health care law in place. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, helped to craft the amendment. And although he has not yet declared support for it publicly, a few other conservatives have signaled they may be ready to switch from no to yes.

    It’s easy enough to see why. If enacted, it would allow states to re-create the conditions that existed before the Affordable Care Act took effect ― a time when insurance premiums were cheaper, chiefly because insurers didn’t have to pay the big medical bills of people with serious conditions.

    At the same time, the new proposal leaves intact most of the initial bill’s big financial changes. Those include shifting the law’s health insurance subsidies, which would offer less help to poor people, and dramatically cutting funds for Medicaid, which would free up money for tax cuts for the wealthy.

    But conservative dissension wasn’t the only obstacle to passage last time around.

    Moderate Republicans also objected to the bill, citing, among other things, the huge loss of insurance coverage it would cause. The Congressional Budget Office predicted that the number of uninsured Americans would climb by 24 million if the law took effect ― partly because people would lose financial assistance they need to pay for health insurance, and partly because people depending on Medicaid would no longer be eligible for it.

     

    Instead of addressing those concerns ― say, by pulling back on the huge Medicaid cut ― this proposal seems to make repeal even less palatable to moderates. By gutting the protection for people with pre-existing conditions, the proposal attacks a feature of the health care law that has been wildly popular, even with Republicans. It also violates a key promise that virtually every Republican, including President Donald Trump, has made repeatedly.

    How The Proposal Guts Pre-Existing Condition Protections

    The measure’s supporters insist tha

     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obamacare-repeal-pre-existing-conditions_us_5900124fe4b0026db1dc423b?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

     

    Tom Kociemba

     

     


  5. Asheville Dem Matt Coffay to challenge Meadows in NC-11

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    Asheville Dem Matt Coffay to challenge Meadows in NC-11

     

    Matt Coffay, a grassroots organizer and former farmer, is hoping to lead a progressive wave of change in Western North Carolina. This past weekend, he announced his intent to challenge U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows for the state’s 11th House district seat.

    At a rally Tuesday outside the Henderson County Courthouse hosted by Progressive Organized Women, Coffay told a crowd of about 100 that during the campaign, he won’t spend all his time on the phone tying himself to big donors and their interests. Instead of building his campaign on the maximum personal donations of $2,700, he said, he’ll be looking for donations of $27.

     

    Infrastructure, jobs, education and health care were the focus of his remarks. Coffay says he supports a $15 minimum wage, health care for all, free public college and investment in infrastructure and jobs.

    A native of Blue Ridge, Ga., 30-year-old Coffay traveled around some after college, he said, but has been back home in Southern Appalachia for the past decade.

    For the past few years, he’s been a full-time farmer, working 80 hours a week to grow a variety of vegetables on a small farm for direct sales to consumers and restaurants. He’s now with the National Young Farmers’ Coalition, where he works with chapters nationwide to advance federal policy to make it easier for young people to become farmers.

    Basically there’s an agriculture crisis across the nation, Coffay said. The average age of American farmers is now 60 years old, continuing an upward trend that’s not showing any signs of turning around.

    He started the local chapter of OurRevolution, a progressive political organization that formed after the presidential election. The chapter, OurRevolutionAVL, out of Asheville, grew quickly. Coffay said he’s been told by national organizers that it has developed into one of the top two or three largest and most active chapters in the country.

    When the organization got to the point where it was looking for candidates to run for local office, he was approached as a good choice for the 11th, thanks to his background as a young farmer and being a native of the area and a good organizer.

    At first, Coffay said he laughed at the “preposterous” idea, but the more he thought about it, the more he felt that a person like him is exactly what the country needs in Washington, D.C.

     

     

     

     

    Congress is mostly populated by rich lawyers, he said, something the vast majority of the nation is not. Half the country earns less than $15 an hour, he said, and what’s needed in Congress are people who understand what it’s like to work really hard and want to fight on behalf of the working class.

    Last Sunday, at a rally promoting Medicare for All, Coffay officially announced that he’ll be running on the Democratic ticket against Meadows in 2018. He hopes to unseat the congressman, who has quickly gained traction in Washington and wields influence as the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

    Meadows during his time in Washington has been credited with shutting down the government and stopping the American Health Care Act, the recent Republican bid to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

    Coffay’s encouraged, however, by the recent special elections in Kansas and Georgia, where Democratic candidates gained ground in traditionally Republican districts. He said he hopes the same factors fueling those campaigns can help his candidacy gain steam in the deeply red NC-11.

    In Georgia, John Ossoff, another 30-year-old Democratic congressional hopeful, just won 48 percent of the vote in a special election, almost crossing the 50-percent threshold that would have prevented a June runoff. In Kansas, Democratic candidate Jim Thompson faced a similar situation, losing to Republican Kansas State Treasurer Ron Estes by just six points.

    Another race Coffay mentioned is the Montana special election for the House, where Democratic candidate Rob Quist is gaining momentum and funding.

    All three races were caused by President Donald Trump appointing the Republican incumbent to administration posts, and Coffay says all three are interesting.

     

     

    http://www.blueridgenow.com/news/20170425/asheville-dem-matt-coffay-to-challenge-meadows-in-nc-11

     

    Tom Kociemba

     


  6. People Laughed When Bill De Blasio First Proposed Free Pre-K. Now He’s Expanding It.

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    People Laughed When Bill De Blasio First Proposed Free Pre-K. Now He’s Expanding It.

     

    The New York mayor plans to roll out free preschool for 3-year-olds.

    When Bill de Blasio ran for New York City mayor in 2013, his plan to enact a universal preschool program for 4-year-olds was treated more like a lofty ideal than a workable promise. American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten suggested the goal was unrealistic, and called the proposal’s early iteration “non-serious.” Experts were skeptical that he could adequately overcome the obstacles to providing pre-K for so many children.

    Four years later, de Blasio has successfully implemented a Pre-K for All program that serves about 70,000 kids. But as he gears up to run for his second term, he has ambitious plans to expand the early education services offered to city families. On Monday, de Blasio announced plans for 3-K for All, a program that could roll out free pre-K for all the city’s 3-year-olds by 2021.

    It’s a plan that is undoubtedly ambitious for the largest city in the country, and its scope stands out even among other progressive states and municipalities with preschool programs. Yet, unlike when de Blasio first proposed universal pre-K on the campaign trail, this proposal is getting taken seriously, he says.

    “When I first introduced pre-K, I can’t tell you how many people told me it was a pipe dream,” de Blasio told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. “The press was openly dismissive,” questioning where the money to pay for the plan would come from, and whether it could serve so many children so quickly, he said.

    This time around, neither “political insiders” nor “everyday people” seem flippant about the plan, “even if it’s going to take a lot of work and time.”

     

     

     

     

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/de-blasio-prek_us_58ff9edde4b0073d3e79fec0?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

     

    Tom Kociemba


  7. Biggest Murder Spikes Not in Sanctuary Cities

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    Biggest Murder Spikes Not in Sanctuary Cities

     

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions says rising crime rates make sanctuary cities unsafe. The statistics paint a much more complicated picture

     

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities a centerpiece of his first few months at the Justice Department—but some cities that have heeded his warning are seeing their murder rates spike anyway.

     

    n a speech last week, Sessions said “sanctuary cities”—a term with no clear legal definition—are safe harbors for violent international cartels, putting “innocent life, including the lives of countless law-abiding immigrants, in danger.”

    And he singled out New York City in a later statement, saying it faces “gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance.”

    But a new analysis of preliminary data shows that in 2016, murder rates went up dramatically in many cities that cooperate with the feds on immigration. Immigration advocates say this means the attorney general is overstating the impact of ending “sanctuary city” policies as a way to fight violent crime.

    “Sanctuary cities are not connected to the 2016 increase in crime in some cities despite Attorney General Sessions’s ill-informed comments to the contrary,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute. “Many of the cities with the biggest increase in crime are not sanctuary cities. There is no evidence that increased immigration enforcement reduces crime on the local level, thus there should be no increase in crime rates when cities reduce cooperation with the feds.”

    The Justice Department says that’s completely incorrect.

     

     

    “There are many drivers of crime in America and sanctuary cities are a part of that,” said DOJ spokesman Ian Prior. “Policies that shelter criminal aliens create a safe space for dangerous transnational criminal organizations to expand their network of drug trafficking, gun trafficking, and human trafficking. That puts residents of those communities in danger and makes it harder for the men and women in law enforcement to safely do their job.”

    Data on murder rate hikes comes from FiveThirtyEight, which compiles and releases numbers on murders in major cities months before the FBI releases its Uniform Crime Report data. According to numbers the site published on Jan. 9, 2017, at least six cities had record-high murder rates in 2016, going back to 1960: Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Wayne, Indiana; Durham, North Carolina; Indianapolis, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; and Memphis, Tennessee. None are so-called sanctuary cities.

    Additionally, six cities in particular had murder rate jumps that FiveThirtyEight called “alarming”: Chicago, Memphis, San Antonio, Louisville, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.

    “Taken together, those six cities accounted for 76 percent of the overall big city murder rise in 2016,” FiveThirtyEight analyst Jeff Asher wrote.

    Two of those cities—Chicago and Las Vegas—could be characterized as “sanctuary cities” (though Vegas officials dispute that characterization). Sessions has indicated that Chicago and Las Vegas may lose grant money from the Justice Department if they don’t cooperate with it more closely on immigration enforcement.

    The other four cities, however, are very cooperative with the feds. Memphis is in Shelby County, and the public information officer for the county sheriff, Earle Farrell, told The Daily Beast that they work closely with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If they arrest someone ICE is looking to deport, they will hold that person until an ICE officer can take him or her into federal custody, Farrell said. He added that they let the agency know when they arrest someone ICE is looking to deport.

     

     

     

     

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2017/04/25/biggest-murder-spikes-not-in-sanctuary-cities.html

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  8. Gun control groups ready for showdown with NRA: ‘We’ll spend what it takes’

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    Gun control groups ready for showdown with NRA: ‘We’ll spend what it takes’

     

    As the NRA goes on the offensive against state and local gun restrictions, gun control leaders are working to educate progressive allies about the coming fight.

     

    The leader of America’s largest gun control group pledged to “spend what it takes” to defeat the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) push to weaken local gun control laws in states like New York, New Jersey, and California.

    Donald Trump will take the stage at the NRA’s annual meeting on Friday, becoming the first sitting president since Ronald Reagan to address the gun rights group, which spent at least $30m to help elect him last year, more than any other outside group.

    With their close friend in the White House, the NRA has moved from defeating new attempts at passing gun control laws to going “on offense” against existing state and local restrictions that govern who is allowed to carry guns in public.

    Gun control leaders say they are working hard to educate their progressive allies about this coming fight over local gun laws.

    “We’re drawing a line on the sand on this one, and we’ll spend what it takes,” said John Feinblatt, the president of Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group backed by billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    Everytown has already launched about six weekly meetings to strategize about different aspects of the fight against “concealed carry reciprocity”, spokeswoman Erika Soto Lamb said.

    While a growing number of states allow citizens to carry concealed guns in public without any permit, other states and cities have permitting standards so rigorous that only citizens who can demonstrate a special need for protection are given permission to carry a gun.

    The NRA wants Congress to address this issue by passing legislation that would make gun permits issued in one state valid in all 50 states – what they call “concealed carry reciprocity”.

    Gun rights advocates complain that the current patchwork of state laws is confusing and unfair, and that it sometimes lands gun owners in jail unfairly when they carry a gun across state lines from a place where their permit is valid to one where it is not.

     

    ut gun control advocates argue that reciprocity is much more dangerous than it appears.

    “Concealed carry reciprocity does nothing to create a nationals standard. What it does is make the weakest link the law of the land,” Feinblatt said.

    Standards for what it takes to be able to legally carry a gun in public range from no requirements at all in states like Vermont and Arizona, to cities like Los Angeles and New York, where it is “exceptionally difficult” for anyone to get a permit, said Adam Winkler, a gun law expert at the University of California Los Angeles School of Law.

    Some versions of the federal legislation mandating national reciprocity for gun permits would essentially overturn strict gun laws in states like California, Winkler said. He rejects the comparison between concealed carry licenses and driver’s licenses in different states.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/26/nra-gun-control-trump-concealed-carry-reciprocity

     

     

    Tom Kociemba


  9. One State Shows Just How Easy It Is To Get More Americans To Vote

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    One State Shows Just How Easy It Is To Get More Americans To Vote

     

    Oregon saw big hikes in voter turnout among youth and voter registration among communities of color in its first election since adopting automatic voter registration, a new report shows.

    In early 2016, Oregon was the first state to implement a system in which eligible residents are automatically registered to vote when they have any significant interaction with the motor vehicles department. People have to opt out if they don’t want to register.

    Following the change, Oregon saw some major gains in underrepresented communities, according to the Alliance for Youth Action’s report. Turnout among voters ages 18 to 29 increased by 20 percentage points, from 37 percent in 2012 to 57 percent in 2016. Registration among voters of color increased by 26 points, from 53 percent in 2012 to 79 percent in 2016.

    The Alliance for Youth Action is an advocacy group that supports automatic voter registration generally and Oregon’s law specifically.

    The specific increases in turnout among youth and registration among people of color in Oregon were the biggest among the 40 states that make their data publicly available, the report says. The increases in youth registration outpaced Oregon’s population growth in that demographic.

    Sarah Audelo, executive director of the Alliance for Youth Action, noted that the campaign to pass Oregon’s law in 2015 was led by young organizers and said even her group was surprised by the size of the increases in turnout and registration.

    “Access to the ballot matters. As a country we should be taking a hard look at ourselves to see what are we doing to make sure that our people are able to vote, that they’re able to participate in our democracy,” Audelo told HuffPost. “We absolutely are fighting back hard against efforts to restrict access to the ballot, but oh my gosh, look what happens when we make it easier for people to participate.”

    survey by the Black Youth Project found that in late 2012, the most-common reason young Americans gave for not voting was that they were not registered. Nationally, just 45 percent of eligible voters under 29 voted in 2012, compared to 66 percent of eligible voters 30 and older, according to the Alliance for Youth Action report.

    “Oregon shows us that AVR [automatic voter registration] can be the great equalizer ― and help build a robust electorate that mirrors this country’s make-up,” said Allegra Chapman, director of voting and elections at Common Cause. “The state already had one of the highest turnout rates in the country, and now it’s building an ever stronger voter base. This is definitely the direction in which the country needs to go: amplifying all eligible voices to create a democracy that accounts for all.”

    Lawmakers in California, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia have also all enacted automatic voter registration. Colorado and Connecticut did it administratively. And Alaska voters approved a slightly different version through a ballot measure this past November.

    Despite signs of success in Oregon soon after the election, Republican governors in a number of states have blocked attempts to pass automatic voter registration. They often cite concerns about voter fraud, although several studies and investigations have shown it is not a widespread problem in the United States. Over the last two years, automatic voter registration bills have been introduced in nearly 30 states.

     

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/one-state-shows-just-easy-224604861.html

     

    Tom Kociemba


  10. White-power groups banding together, but for how long?

    April 27, 2017 by tkociemba

    White-power groups banding together, but for how long?

     

     

    White extremists, almost by nature, are seldom good at working together.

    Creating consensus among white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klansmen and the like is akin to herding rattlesnakes, given the caustic personalities often involved. Members typically get mad at each other and split, sometimes within days, resulting in the near-constant creation of new groups and a churning of both leaders and followers.

    That’s why it’s something of a surprise that an alliance of white-power groups born in a KKK bar in Georgia is marking its first birthday. Composed of multiple extremist groups, the Nationalist Front had its anniversary Saturday.

    Similarly, six Klan organizations from around the country announced a consolidation last month.

    The common goal, as these alliances see it, is protecting the white race at a time when the Census Bureau projects whites will be a minority within three decades.

    Watchdog groups that track hate organizations aren’t impressed. They say the Nationalist Front now lists 11 member groups, about half the number it had when it was formed.

    “These things never last,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the hate-monitoring Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Beirich said that while white supremacists have been emboldened by President Donald Trump’s election, such groups have been trying on and off for decades to merge, generally to appear larger than they really are.

    But leaders say there’s a difference this time: A spokesman for the Nationalist Front, Matthew Heimbach, said U.S. white nationalists are trying to follow the example of far-right European groups that have learned to work together rather than bicker over ideology, theology and organizational structure.

    U.S. nationalist groups have cooperated on projects such as video presentations and propaganda strategies over the last year, Heimbach said, and they worked together to support white nationalist Richard Spencer when he spoke at Auburn University earlier this month.

    Originally called the Aryan National Alliance, the Nationalist Front renamed itself and dropped its use of the swastika in an attempt to broaden its appeal.

    Some robe-wearing KKK members who were initially part of the Nationalist Front dropped out, and some Klan groups are now consolidating to build membership and power.

    The American Alliance of Klans formed during a meeting in rural Florida in March. More Klan groups have joined since, leaders say.

    Tom Larson of Delaware, imperial wizard of the East Coast Knights of the KKK, a part of the new alliance, said: “We want to see people stand up and make this country great again, like Trump is saying. We’re tired of seeing white people lose everything.”

    None of these groups will provide membership numbers, but it’s safe to say none is huge. About 100 people have registered to attend a Nationalist Front gathering this weekend in Pikeville, Kentucky, Heimbach said.

    Photos from the meeting where the Klan alliance was formed showed about two dozen people in KKK robes and black uniforms giving the Nazi salute, but organizers said that was only leaders and does not represent total membership.

    Both the Nationalist Front and the Alliance of Klans are but shadow of the United Klans of America, an Alabama-based group that claimed membership in the thousands in the 1960s and was blamed for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing that killed four black girls. It was disbanded in 1987 after the Klan murder of a black man resulted in criminal convictions and a lawsuit that bankrupted the group.

    The SPLC’s Beirich said she is less worried about new supremacist alliances than free-standing extremist entities like The Daily Stormer, which she describes as an anti-Semitic, misogynistic, racist website that entered the real world last year by forming “book clubs” that hold local meetings.

     

     

     

     

     

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/white-power-groups-banding-together-long-160948969.html

     

     

     

    Tom Kociemba